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Music

Keeping Some Dirt Under the Grass: John Hartford and the Roots of Newgrass

At a time when country music was shining like a new dime, John Hartford and his collaborators were digging into old time music to find something new.

Music

Kris Kristofferson: Leonard Cohen-esque

Kristofferson at times evokes Leonard Cohen, with a voice that pulls the listener into the depths of darkened barrooms, whether to share a sob story or a bit of tongue-in-cheek sagacity. His 20th album is out soon.

Music

The Ghetto of Genre

Proehl discovered the secret Supremes country album. Now all the genre-restricting straightjackets bounding country music are off.

Books

Secret Identity Crisis by Matthew J. Costello

In a move fairly common to comics scholarship, Costello at times overstates the case for superhero comics as a product of their times rather than a product of a particular individual’s creative choices.

Books

Frankly, My Dear by Molly Haskell

Alas, this does little to ease a skeptic’s misgivings about a film whose scope and beauty at times feel like a Technicolor gloss on one of the darkest periods in American history.

Music

Five Days in March: Uncle Tupelo’s Quiet Revolution

Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy may have left country behind, but in 1992, he helped redefine the sound of alt-country.

SAVE / IGNORE: Labels

Nonesuch

Music

To Lefty to Willie to Phossy with Love

Even in railing against the influence of another, the musician must admit that influence and its inescapability. Like Br’er Rabbit and the tar baby, every blow struck just brings the two closer together.

Music

Killing Him Didn’t Make Her Love Go Away

Violence in music begets violence in music: female artists reclaim the murder ballad.

Reviews

William Eggleston: Photographer

A museum tour guide analysis of Eggleston’s work -- exactly the type of analysis both Eggleston and his work staunchly resist.

Reviews

The Spy Collection Megaset

Rather like the the pu pu platter, there’s too much of one thing, not enough of another in this collection of British spy TV

Music

Time for a Repress: ‘The Gilded Palace of Sin’

For people lucky enough to stumble upon the Flying Burrito Brothers, they made country cool. The music's simplicity and emotive directness, often derided and mocked by hipsters, could now be valid, vital and mean something to a modern audience.

Music

Stay All Night (Stay a Little Longer): One More Time with the King of Western Swing

Today, many performers play a revivalist form of Western Swing, but even more may be tipping a hat to Bob Wills without even knowing it. Chomping down on his cigar, Wills and his legacy strut around the stage of musical history, rarely taking the lead but now and then giving a holler of approval.

Music

"Gone Country" and Hoping to Make It Back Alive

Going to Nashville to become country at this point is a little like going to New York City to become the Velvet Underground.

Reviews

Our Man in Havana

A lost gem from the team that crafted The Third Man finally shows up on DVD.

Reviews

Otis Redding: Respect Live 1967

If Sam Cooke’s style is defined by a sort of grace and smoothness, Otis Redding’s feels more like that of a great force held in check, threatening to break loose.

Reviews

Gospel According to Al Green

The 25th anniversary edition of this documentary shows the singer’s return to the church after early commercial successes.

Comics

Omega: The Unkown

Full of explicit weirdness, Omega: The Unknown is the loving work of professional fan fiction.

Reviews

The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel

The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For collects 25 years of Alison Bechdel’s battle against patriarchy, heterosexual hegemony and most everything else.

Music

Hank's Other Side: Religion, Radio, and the Roots of Country Music

Hank Williams' recordings for WSM's Mother's Best Flour radio show challenge the modern listener's idea that country music reserves Jesus for Sunday morning.

Television

CMAs and the End of Genre or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Kid Rock

This year's CMA winners point to a future where the only thing necessary to be classified as country is a desire to join in and sing.

Music

Countrypolitik: What's Right and What's Left About Country Music

At a first glance, country music seems traditionally allied with the sort of down-home, small-town ethics and values touted by the Republicans. But the politics of country music has never been a simple red or blue.

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